23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 9th September 2018

Theme: JESUS MADE THE DEAF HEAR AND THE DUMB SPEAK SO THAT THEY CAN COMMUNICATE AND BE IN COMMUNION AND COMMUNITY WITH GOD AND MAN

  • Isaiah 35:4-7
  • Psalm 145 (146): 7-10. R/ v.1
  • James 2:1-5
  • Mark 7: 31-37

Today is the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak so that they can communicate and be in communion and community with God and Man!

The three words, communication, communion and community come from the same Latin word “communis” meaning common. (WNNCD) If there is no communication, there is no communion and community.

The deaf cannot hear and the dumb cannot speak. We cannot speak to the deaf and we cannot hear the dumb. There is no communication, communion and community. But spiritual deafness and spiritual dumbness is even worse. We cannot hear God speak to us and we cannot speak to God in prayer. And we cannot hear and speak to one another on the personal-spiritual level.

The gospel today tells us that Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak so that they can hear the word of God and speak to God in prayer; so that they can communicate with God and be in communion and community with God. And so that the spiritually deaf and dumb can hear and speak to one another on the personal-spiritual level; so that the spiritually deaf and dumb can communicate with one another and be in communion and community with one another.

That is what we do in our Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs). In our BECs we listen to God in the Sunday Mass readings and we pray to God. In our BECs we listen to one another, and we share with one another on the personal-spiritual level. We communicate with God and with one another and we are in communion and community with God and with one another!

Thus the caption of today’s gospel: “He makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.”! (Mk 7:37)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading was a prophesy of the return from exile from Babylon in the sixth century B. C.

But our theme today is the deaf and dumb. The first reading tells us that the deaf will hear and the dumb will speak, that is, the spiritually deaf and dumb. This prophesy is already fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He made the deaf hear and the dumb speak so that they can communicate with God and man and be in communion and community with God and man!

Thus the caption of the first reading: “The ears of the deaf shall be unsealed and the tongues of the dumb shall be loosed.”!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a hymn of praise to God the Redeemer who saves the weak and the oppressed. (NJBC) He saves the oppressed, the hungry, the prisoners, the blind, the bowed down, the just, the stranger, the widow, and the orphan. Although the deaf and the dumb are not mentioned here, they are implied. (Fuller)

Thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “My soul, give praise to the Lord.”! (Ps 145 (146): 1) My soul, give praise to the Lord for making the deaf hear and the dumb speak! (Imperative)

The second reading tells us that the Christian community must not favor the rich and discriminate against the poor. We must not give the “best seats” to the rich and tell the poor to stand or sit on the floor. We must give the “best seats” both to the rich and the poor!

In our Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs), we have the rich and the poor, men and women, young and old, single and married, and peoples of different races, cultures and nationalities! In our BECs we must not favor anyone or discriminate against anyone! All are equal and mutual!

Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us listen to God and speak to God in prayer and be in communication, communion and community with God.

The Holy Spirit will help us listen to one another and speak to one another on the personal-spiritual level and be in communication, communion and community with one another. The Holy Spirit will help us not favor the rich and discriminate against the poor, but to give the “best seats” to the rich and poor alike! Amen!

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